By David Wheeler/Special to the Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo, Pontotoc, Saltillo, Corinth, and Oxford.
These are five of the top 16 girls high school cross country teams in Mississippi, and they put on quiet a show Saturday at the Tupelo Invitational at Ballard Park.
With the state meet just three weeks away, Tupelo is beginning to peak at the right time, as evidenced by its victory at its home meet over an elite field.
“I was very pleased with the way we finished this race as compared to Mississippi College last week,” said Tupelo girl coach Anna Sloan, whose Lady Wave finished second last week to Pontotoc. “A strong finish is so important, and we finished well today.”
Tupelo placed its top five runners in the top 17 of the race, good enough for 47 points. Memphis area school St. Agnes was second with 62, with Saltillo third at 83, Pontotoc fourth at 83, Corinth fifth at 115, and Oxford sixth at 123.
“We finally got the “W” as a team this season,” said Sloan, whose Lady Wave have won 11 straight state titles. “I was very pleased with the results and effort.”
Pontotoc is ranked No. 1 in the state on milesplit.com, and has won three consecutive state titles.
Healthy win for Daniels
The individual 4K results were equally strong.
Christina Daniels of Tupelo began rounding into form after an early season illness, won in 14 minutes, 41 seconds. Peyton Haman of Lafayette was third at 15:01, Yvette Evans of Corinth fourth at 15:01, and Elizabeth Lunn of Pontotoc sixth at 15:29.
Madison Nash and Callie Mayo of Tupelo added ninth and 10th place finishes, respectively.
The 4A-6A boys event featured the other No. 1 ranked team in Mississippi – the Tupelo boys. But like the girls event, the top ranked team did not win.
Christian Brothers of Memphis was first with 40, Saltillo (50) a strong second, Tupelo (64) third and Pontotoc (98) fourth.
“If we beat Tupelo, then its something we’ve been shooting for the last four or five years since the last time we beat them,” Saltillo coach Charles Covington said. “We’ve got 10 guys running good right now.”
Christian Brothers placed three runners in the top five for the 5K, with Aaron Mays first in 16:43. Darnell Collier of Tupelo was third in 17:01, Brayden Timmons of Pontotoc fourth in 17:03, and Lance Crabtree of Saltillo sixth in 17:08.
In the 1A-3A boys race, French Camp was first in 70, Kossuth second in 75, and West Union third in 89. In the girls, Hickory Flat won with 64, Myrtle was second with 77, and Mooreville third with 79.